By: Marcia Keilen
Our bodies have been hard-wired for survival and self-preservation through a reflex known as the fight-or-flight response. This reflex kicks in when we perceive a threat to our physical body and our body responds in one of two ways: to fight or to run. Basically, our body responds to this threat physiologically by pumping out stress hormones, specifically, adrenaline and cortisol, which in turn causes our blood pressure to rise, our heart rate and blood sugar to increase, the blood circulation to our digestion to decrease, suppresses our immune system, and increases the stickiness of our platelets. After the threat passes our bodies should return to their normal state of homeostasis. This is certainly important if we are indeed faced with bodily harm, but unfortunately, this stress response can become chronic in our everyday life when we are faced with the many stresses we encounter everyday. Dr. David Simon, M.D., one of the co-founders of the Chopra Center for Well Being, gave this definition of stress, “how we respond when our needs are not met.” How many times do we deal with unmet needs? For example, someone cuts you off on the roadway, your workload becomes overwhelming, you’re running late for an appointment and there is a traffic jam that makes you even later. There are many, many examples of these unmet needs that we face everyday. The important question is, how are we going to respond to these situations? That is what determines our emotional and physical health. Over time chronic stress can lead to a myriad of health problems such as cardiovascular disease, anxiety, insomnia, poor digestion, infections, strokes and heart attacks, to name a few.
One of the best antidotes to stress is meditation. When we meditate, our body’s chemistry actually changes as we move into a state of restful awareness. Meditation helps us to respond in a more mindful way to the world around us, we can’t control what goes on around us, BUT we can choose how we respond to what is happening around us and meditation helps us to be less reactive and more reflective, we are less impulsive and more intuitive, and we make more conscious choices. As meditation reverses the negative effects of chronic stress, we find more peace of mind and a healthier state of being as well as many other benefits. Learn about these benefits of meditation as well as how to meditate by taking a meditation class or booking a private session to learn how easy it is to meditate and how you can fit a meditation practice into your everyday schedule.
By: Leanna DeFere
-Aid digestion by being mindful not only in flavor combining but by avoiding fruit/ dairy, hot/cold, raw/cooked combinations. These can upset digestion.
—Eat with the Season
-When we eat seasonally we save money. This is because stores and markets have an abundance of these foods. Also we tend to eat more locally grown foods. Local foods support local farmers. They travel less distance and usually contain less pesticides—making them fresher.
—Eat in a designated space
-By having a space for our eating meals can become sacred times to nourish our body. Sit at a table with your utensils and foods laid out before you begin eating. This helps to alleviate anxiety around meal times. Make this space sacred. When present in the space avoid emotional conversations. Allowing the space to remain in a neutral energy.
When eating avoid taking in liquids, this will weaken digestion and absorption of nutrients. Ideally liquid can be consumed between meals. Waiting 20 minutes between liquid intake and meal time.
Digestion begins in the mouth. It is so important to chew our food well. Carbohydrates become significantly sweeter the more they are chewed. Many individuals under chew their food. Most foods need to be chewed 15-20 times. This is also a technique for those trying to lose weight. By chewing our food we are better able to savor and enjoy each flavor and texture. Often taking the time to chew increases length of meal time. Be sure to take time for your meals. Don’t eat on the run or in a rush. Allow yourself time to sit and breathe before beginning.
Each time you feed your body you have an opportunity to really tune in and listen to yourself. This begins by turning off the TV, setting the cell phone aside and avoiding upsetting conversations. Eating in silence promotes digestion because excess air is not take in, however, if you choose to engage in conversation be mindful of who you are talking with and what you discuss.
Only eat until 75% full. This allows digestion to have room to process the foods.
After eating allow yourself to sit for 10 minutes. Use this time to reflect on the meal and the nourishment you provided your body. If you must move, consider taking a slow, mindful walk. Walking can gently stimulate the digestive system. It is also helpful if you have overeaten.
Our guts serve as our second brain. A healthy gut means a healthy mood.Most physical and mental disease begins in our digestive system. Learning how to promote a gut with healthy intestinal flora you will help you to achieve and maintain wellness.
Learn to ferment your own foods. In this workshop we will cover fermented vegetables, cultured coconut water and rejuvelac. Materials included. This is the second workshop of a series of Living Foods Workshops.
The class will run January 8, 2014
Schedule online or call 970.472.0995 to register. We will be taking 8 students.
RAW VEGAN PUMPKIN PIE with WHIPPED COCONUT CREAM
1 cup walnuts
1 cup almonds
2 cups raisins
Pinch of salt (optional)
1 sugar pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cubed (about 6-7 cups)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
3-5 tablespoons coconut nectar or other preferred sweetener
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon each of nutmeg, ginger and cloves
To make the crust: pulse the nuts in a food processor until they’re crumbs, add the raisins and salt and process until it begins to stick together. Press into a pie dish and put in the fridge.
To make the filling: blend all the ingredients until smooth, adding however much of the spices you like. If it’s quite runny, let it thicken in a bowl in the fridge. Spread into your crust and refrigerate overnight until it’s set. Slice and serve with whipped coconut cream.
WHIPPED COCONUT CREAM
1 refrigerated can of full-fat coconut milk
Touch of vanilla extract
2-3 teaspoons of maple syrup
Place the mixing bowl in the freezer 5 minutes before making the cream. When ready, remove the can and open it upside down. Pour out the liquid milk on top (save for a smoothie or another recipe). Scoop our hardened cream at the bottom, whip with mixer. Add maple syrup and vanilla.
Gluten and Grain Free Flax Crackers…
2 1/2 Cups golden flax seeds (soaked in filtered water for 8 hours)
1 cup carrot juice
1 cup carrot pulp
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 2 teaspoons of your favorite herbs
1 teaspoon sea salt
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Prepare 3 large dehydrator trays with Teflex sheets. Divide mixture into 3 pieces, and spread each 1/4 inch think on trays. Dehydrate at 115 degrees, and flip crackers when the tops are feeling dry. Dehydrate for a few more hours.
Learn more about the Living Foods Lifestyle.
Energy soup could be your first step to healing. The Ann Wigmore Institute serves it every day at every meal!
6 cups of greens (lettuce, kale, collard greens, etc)
1 zucchine or yellow squash
1 green apple
2 cups fresh sprouts (sunflower, buckwheat, mung bean)
2 tablespoons dulse flakes (or other sea vegetables)
2 cups rejuvelac or water
Sea salt or coconut aminos to taste
Place all ingredients in the blender and pulse gently blended. Sprinkle with cultured veggies, sprouted seeds, dulse, and additional sunflower greens.
The holiday season is rapidly approaching. Many of us have already noticed changing emotions and increasing stress. Autumn and the transition into winter can stir up emotion. Our environment is changing with falling leaves and whirling winds. It can be difficult not to spin in an internal whirlwind.
With the holidays come company and the desire to be around others. In order to be truly present and grounded in our experience, we must care for ourselves:
- 1. Getting enough sleep, remembering and taking the time to eat balanced meals and breathing are great ways to start. Then, tune into your body. What is your body needing? By using our senses, we can soothe stress. Adding aromas and mindfulness throughout the day can help reduce stress.
- 2. Make your space a sanctuary. When your environment is peaceful, the mind finds ease.
- Our sense of smell is directly connected to our memory. Consider using aromatherapy. Aromatherapy uses oils extracted from flowers, seeds, leaves, roots and fruit. Essential oils for stress include bergamot, patchouli, blood orange, Ylang ylang, lavender, chamomile and grapefruit. Oils can be heated in a diffuser to release the scent. This is great for filling a space with the scent. Other ways include adding 8-10 drops to a bath, 1-2 drops on a tissue or adding 5 drops to an unscented lotion. You can also dilute the oil with water to make a spray. Or add 10-20 drops to a load of laundry. Personally, I like to spray my blood orange and bergamot blend when I get home. It is a helpful reminder that I have left the stress of the world and have returned to my place of peace. I use the affirmation, “I am home, I am safe, I am at peace” when I spray it. Whether I believe those words at the time is irrelevant. It is a game of tricking the mind. By saying those words, I create those thoughts. When the brain ‘hears’ that phrase and registers the smell stress reducing hormones are released.
- 3. Finally, mindfulness is essential. Being mindful means being present in body and mind. Taking time to breathe deeply drastically reduces stress. Give yourself 2 minutes to do nothing but close your eyes and breathe. It can be difficult to quiet a stressed mind. Feel your body completely empty of breath. Slowly inhale starting way down in the root, as you feel the belly expanding and the breath rising feel your ribs expanding, your chest opening, filling all the way up underneath your collarbones when you can no longer sip in any breath pause. Then release out though your mouth. Visualize all the stress spewing out though your mouth.
A vibrational sound environment creates a soft mind. My stress stone recommendation for the holidays is white alabaster. This fine grain is variety of gypsum. It aids the body by centering the self to further mental activity. It teaches forgiveness, enhances skills employed for serving other and allows for maturity and self-composure. It alleviates the “seeking” tension found in the mind. Alabaster allows one to understand that tension will pass and aids in diminishing internal anger or struggle.
Give yourself care this holiday season. Care for your body, care for your mind.
Written by… Leanna Defere